Sunday, September 1, 2013

Almost Ready!

Most of my classroom is ready!  I am so pleased with the environment I've set up for this school year.

View to the back from the door.

I'm still over the moon about the fabric that I put up this summer.  I really love it!  This may be the first year where I don't feel like I have to take down my boards for summer.  When I used paper, it was always so faded by June.  Here's hoping!  

I've got twenty-four desks forming six tables of four each.  Each chair has a pocket that I made this summer with what I learned from Kelly at First Grade Fairytales.  They turned out so great!  I made them green to match the chairs to cut down on distractions.  Here's a close up with a student's book baggie in it.  If you do reading workshop, you might use book boxes instead.  I've done book boxes for seven years, so this will be a change for me.  I'm trying to avoid all the boxes getting dumped when kids open their desks, and it will free up three bookshelves for our class library.  I'll let you know how it works out.

Chair pockets made by yours truly!

My classroom library is in front of the center windows, which I added curtains to this year.  My windows face the playground, and it's just so distracting for the first graders to see other kids outside!  Even when I remind them that they JUST CAME IN FROM THEIR RECESS, they still cry, "NO FAIR!"  So, I'm hoping that these calming blue curtains will do the trick.  My library is really a two-for-one.  I have books that are leveled, for when they "shop for just right books," and books that are organized by genre, author, and character.  I also have some numbered tubs that are favorite picture books.  The students can choose one NON-leveled book to take home in a special bag daily.  I use THESE.  We call them CHOICE BOOKS.  I have a sticker label on them "Choice Book:  Parent reads to child."  Here's the library...

I shortened the table so kids can sit on the floor or kneel at it.

Here's one section of the pennant banner I made after Andrew at Mr. First Grade posted about making one with foam rectangles from the Dollar Tree.  Love it!
Both my upper windows now have decor!

The "Read Like Crazy" sign is from last June.  Our school has helped kids set summer reading goals for two years now.  Kids who reach their goal get to have a reunion lunch with their previous year's teacher.  My staff made the BEST video to motivate them.  We were even on the news!  You can see it HERE.  I'm in the way back, holding Three Hens and a Peacock.

I spent a good chunk of time this summer looking for deals and steals on Craig's List.  One of my hunts was all about Beanie Babies!  Our 5K uses animals to teach reading strategies, so I was on the look out for an eagle, fish, snake, monkey, dolphin, frog, lion, and owl.  I found them all, including a pile of dogs (to match my Top Dog theme, of course) from one person, for $20.  Unbelievable!  BTW, some people out there still think that Beanie Babies are worth hundreds of dollars!  What?

Reading strategy animals with labels by Lisa at Growing Firsties.  So cute!
(The Wise Owl is for checking to make sure it looks right, sounds right, and makes sense).

Cute book crates were at Wally this summer.  One dollar each, and they fit four on a shelf so much better than the old Dollar Tree tubs I was using.  I do have to turn one tub sideways, but I'm OK with that!

Come back soon to see the rest of the place!  I've got to get back in there to be ready for Tuesday morning!

I hope your Labor Day is "labor-less!"